DETROIT (FOX 2) - The city of Detroit is extending a helping hand to those facing eviction. Tens of millions of dollars is just sitting in the bank, earmarked for back rent assistance.
If you're struggling to make ends meet, there are three ways the city can help keep you in your home.
"I thank God I didn’t have to move or whatever, and i really appreciate this program," said Janice Pemberton.
Pemberton is among thousands of residents who credit the Detroit Eviction Assistance and Prevention Program, with helping her stay in her home after falling on hard times during the pandemic.
"I am so glad and I want to speak to whoever is listening, whoever needs help, I advise them to go into the program and get help," she said.
Mayor Mike Duggan says the city created the program with funding from the federal government to help renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We’ve spent $60 million to keep the first 7,000 families in their home we’ve got another $60 million," Mayor Mike Duggan said. "The help is there, all you have to do is make a phone call."
The city also has other resources for folks facing eviction.
"Normally it’s not one thing that’s happening in their lives," Duggan said. "Normally there are a number of pressures occurring, and we can say ok, we'll get you a lawyer, we'll help you on the back rent get you out of arrears, we can even help you get your repairs to your house and we can help you get into a good-paying job so you can pay off your rent in the future."
Ashley Lowe is the CEO of Lakeshore Legal Aid, one of several nonprofit law firms representing program members.
Her advice to Detroiters who are served with court papers is to make sure you don't miss your hearing.
"If you are served with a notice to appear at a Zoom eviction hearing, you must appear," she said. "Legal aid attorneys are doing great work and they’re providing a lot of services, but we can’t do anything unless you appear in that court so we can talk with you."
While the city has already helped thousands of people, they have the money to help thousands more.
"We don’t want you going to sleep at night wondering if you will be able to stay in your place," Duggan said. "We will be there to help you."
The City of Detroit has lawyers on hand to help you contest the eviction in court. If you are at the writ stage call (313) 725-4559 for legal help. If you are in court or behind on rent, call (866) 313-2520.